ELMHURST – Irene Trujillo, an employee of Elmhurst-based Helping Hands Maids Services, recently won the Association of Residential Cleaning Services, International's Professional Cleaner of the Year national award at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America 2017 awards ceremony held in Las Vegas on Sept. 13.
Gosia Baran, owner of Helping Hands, said that she nominated Trujillo out of more than 30 employees for the award because she is an outstanding employee.
"She has clients who absolutely love her because of her high quality and how much she cares about the job," Baran said.
Baran said that Trujillo even sacrificed her vacation once because there was so much work that needed to be done.
Trujillo said, with assistance from her daughter Marieli Urquiza since her first language is Spanish, that she enjoys being a professional cleaner because she enjoys seeing the satisfaction and happiness of her clients. She added that her only goal in taking the job was to help her two daughters be able to attend college.
Baran, who immigrated from Poland in 1999, started Helping Hands in 2001 after she found that she wasn't happy with the corporate environment at a law firm. She had hired professional cleaners to clean her home while she was working in the corporate sector but she was dissatisfied with their work and personal attention.
"That kind of gave me a thought that, 'You know, I can do this. I can start this. I love people I can start a company,'" Baran said.
She also wanted to be able to help other people who came from other countries to the United States in search of better lives and opportunities.
"Because I feel how they feel and what they are looking for, that's why I am passionate to run this business," she said.
She added that the company provides employees with education in learning English, personal financial management and nutrition.
"We are trying to help them as much as we can to help them grow in this country," Baran said.
Some of her employees come from Poland, Mexico and Ukraine, she said.
Baran joined the executive board of the Association of Residential Cleaning Services, International in January 2017. She is also considering opening an division office in downtown Chicago.
Helping Hands also participates in Cleaning for a Reason, which is a nonprofit that helps women who are undergoing cancer treatment to find free cleaning services.
Dianne Schlitz, an Elmhurst resident who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2014, is one woman who has received free cleaning services from Helping Hands through Cleaning for a Reason.
"It was a huge, huge blessing," Schlitz said about having received the services. She was going through radiation every day and frequent chemotherapy at the time.
"They did a wonderful job," she said.